A/N: Still running late. Working on it, though.
She was tapping her heel rapidly where she stood, wedge-heeled sneakers quietly battering the tiled floor. A glance at her phone, and she sighed audibly for the third time in a minute, letting her irritation disperse through the line. It was best to do it in heavily-populated areas like this so that no one person took too much. It was a necessary evil; the only way she could stand to be cheerful on campus all day was to go somewhere like this and get out her leftover frustrations from the day before.
“You guys are busy this morning, huh?” she said as she finally reached the counter, then continued without waiting for an answer: “I need a venti soy milk Green Tea Crème Frappuccino®, but like, with a double shot of espresso.”
“Oh, the green tea frap doesn’t actually come with espresso,” the barista said hesitantly, and Morgan narrowed her eyes.
“And you can’t just, like…put it in?”
“Yeah, yeah, of course! I just didn’t know if—”
“Someone hasn’t had her coffee yet,” said the assistant manager, gently shooing the younger barista away. “Leave him out of your morning rampage; he’s new.”
“Whateverrr,” Morgan said, leaning heavily against the counter to set her eyes intensely on Renee. “No fair substituting yourself; you know I can’t bitch at you.”
“Until you can learn to keep it to yourself, this is all I can do to protect the others from you,” she said, though she was smiling. “$5.14.”
Morgan handed over a ten and added, “Keep the change.”
“Uh-huh. What’s the catch?”
“Go get a drink with me. I mean a real drink, not here,” she offered, angling her shoulders to take advantage of her shirt’s low-cut neckline. Although Renee glanced up and then away quickly, her answer was firm.
“Your change is 4.86,” she said, handing over the cash. “Your drink will be ready at the other side of the counter.”
“You’re killing me, honey,” Morgan whined. Still, she sauntered over to the opposite end of the counter and pouted at Renee until her drink was ready. With a last nasty look at the boy who had taken her order, she swept out of the store and back to her car to rush to her first class.
“What a killjoy,” she answered around her straw. “Guess it’s a bad day for my HoM students.” Her schedule began with History of Magic at 8:30 a.m., populated by the brave or the ignorant who often ended up bearing whatever negativity she had left—or, on rare occasions, countering it with positivity in a way that made everyone’s day a bit better.
This wasn’t one of those days. By the time the class was finished, she felt little but drained. It was hard to get much enthusiasm out of an early morning college class. Hoping to pick herself up, she went out into the courtyard behind the student center and watched her the nightingales that nested there flutter around her and sing cheerfully. At least someone was happy. But being in the sun and around laughing students was helping. She hung around the cafeteria, loud and crowded as it was, to soak up the massive amounts of relief and playful joy around her. For a bit, she went to the library for the peace and focus she could find there.
During her next class at 11, she was practically a different person. She was patient, attentive, making sure that everyone had what they needed and understood the material before she moved on. As usual, her good mood affected those of her students; for those fifty minutes, she was able to revel in being an Empath and a Beacon, as she always did in moments of giving and receiving positive energy.
Still, as nice as she felt presently, she couldn’t help remembering her behavior in the morning and regretting it. Well, regretting it to a certain degree. She knew if she hadn’t gotten it out, it would’ve poisoned the rest of her day. Yet as she sat in her office, sometime around four and after her last class of the day, she was thinking about Renee. After some consideration and internal conflict, she sent a text message to try to break the ice.
Sent, 4:22 pm: Hey. What’s going on?
Received, 4:27 pm: That’s a good song.
Sent, 4:27pm: It was a sincere question, thank you very much.
Received, 4:29 pm: Well nothing’s going on. Thank you very much for asking.
Morgan let out a deep sigh and ruffled her hair a bit harder than necessary.
Sent, 4:30 pm: I’m sorry about this morning.
Sent, 4:30 pm: I was being pushy and manipulative.
Sent, 4:30 pm: You know I’m not always like that.
Received, 4:36 pm: I know.
Sent, 4:37 pm: Still no dice though, huh…?
Received, 5:00 pm: We’ve talked about this, Professor.
She rolled her eyes and groaned mightily.
Sent, 5:02 pm: You’re not even taking classes with me anymore. I’m not your teacher.
Received, 5:40 pm: I would really prefer not to have this conversation again. I want to be your friend. Please let that be enough.
Morgan didn’t respond. By this time, she had gotten home and was lying on her back in bed. It shouldn’t have been such a big deal, she reasoned. There were plenty of other girls in the world. The problem was that some part of her felt she wasn’t being properly represented…but that was wishful thinking. Whether or not she was “naturally” a bitch sometimes, her actions were undeniable. When she was weighed down with everyone else’s negativity, she tended to be hostile herself. She couldn’t blame Renee for rejecting her.
As she was throwing her small and exclusive pity party, she heard something tapping against her window. She frowned and sat up in bed, and the tapping repeated until she came to investigate. Sitting outside on the windowsill, she found a flying squirrel who seemed to be waiting patiently for her to answer.
“Well well,” she said as she carefully opened the window. “Look who’s back in town unannounced.”
“What do ya think I’m doing here if nae announcing myself?” A woman’s voice, thickly laden with a Brogue accent answered her from below. The squirrel leapt from the sill to glide down to her, and she grinned up at Morgan from the shadow of her cowl. “And will ya let an old woman in, or am I having to beg?”
Morgan rolled her eyes. “My door is always unlocked for you, Biddy.” When she met her old friend downstairs, it was with a tight embrace and a kiss planted in her thick ginger hair. “What brings you back?”
“What ever does? The wind. The fair folk,” Biddy explained. “My own fickle whim. You’re doing well, Morríghan?”
“I am,” she replied without thought, disregarding the complete let-down of a day she’d had. In fact, she supposed it was a welcome distraction. “I’m betting you wouldn’t say no to a glass of whiskey.”
“I would’nae say ‘no,’” she agreed, finally pulling her hood back and removing her cloak. It went in the corner along with her bag, and her Familiar crawled up her leg to perch on her shoulder. “If you’re offering.”
“Sit down, ya crone,” Morgan said with a smile and a shake of her head as she went for their glasses. It wasn’t the drink she’d hoped to be having, but she did see herself enjoying this encounter more.